Jacquie Paul and Rich Saskal; The Press-Enterprise January 15, 2001, Monday Copyright 2001 The Press Enterprise Co. The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Ca.) January 15, 2001, Monday
(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- Nothing seemed out of the ordinary Saturday afternoon, when two officers went to a Riverside apartment where neighbors had complained of loud music. Minutes later, Detective Doug Jacobs was shot to death.
Even a routine call is dangerous. "It's fatiguing to stay alert, on your toes, all day long, but that's just what we need to do. Even the simplest call can turn deadly," said Rialto police Sgt. Jim Kurkoske.
"Your worst enemy is the 'routine call,' " said Ontario police Detective Mike Macias.
Officer Ben Baker arrived first Saturday afternoon to deal with the complaint about loud music at 3140 Lemon St. He asked for backup, probably because of an argument with Polly Carr, police Lt. Ed McBride said. Neighbors often complained about her radio.
"Witnesses heard some loud talking," he said. "We haven't determined that it was the lady playing the music, but we can surmise it was." Jacobs arrived as backup and was standing on an out side stairwell when a man who emerged from the first-floor apartment fired, striking the officer in the head, police said.
The suspect, Steve Woodruff, 37, who is Carr's son, was booked into Robert Presley Detention Center Saturday night on suspicion of murder. No bail was set.
McBride said nothing about Saturday's call appeared out of the ordinary. It was daylight -- about 2:30 p.m. Just a call of someone playing music too loudly. And there were no reports of previous serious problems at the address, police said.
"Sometimes if we go to a residence and we've had problems there before, we will have it marked in the computer. It may even say send two officers...This isn't one of those places," McBride said.
Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Mark Lohman said, "The word 'routine' does not exist in police work because we do not know what a situation's going to bring. "Macias knows too well the risk of being shot: He was hit in the abdomen while making a traffic stop 20 years ago and now travels to other departments to teach officers how to stay safe.
But those measures don't always help.
"We try to give them the best training," McBride said. "That doesn't preclude something like this happening." Rialto's Kurkoske said that he tells his officers that "we always need to be alert and conscious," but said that doesn't always happen, especially as officers answer call after call.
On Saturday afternoon, after Jacobs was shot, Baker returned fire but did not hit anyone, McBride said.
Witnesses reported hearing four to six shots, and McBride said investigators have not determined how many were fired.
Woodruff dropped a rifle as he was apprehended, but investigators believe Jacobs was shot with a different weapon, McBride said.
"It's in doubt," he said. "Initially, the suspect threw out a rifle, but in talking with witnesses they described another weapon he had. "Woodruff was naked when police apprehended him immediately after the shooting but probably was clothed when he fired, McBride said.
"I'm speculating based on witness statements that he was probably dressed and took them off after the shooting," McBride said. "We don't know why." Jacobs died at Riverside Community Hospital at 3:07 p.m., 39minutes after he was shot.